Minnesota Zoo’s Amur tiger dies after cardiac failure

The 12-year-old Amur tiger at the Minnesota Zoo has died. According the the Minnesota Zoo, the tiger named Putin was undergoing a routine medical examination on Wednesday, when it experienced cardiac failure and died.

The tiger was born in the Czech Republic in 2009 and given the name Putin, it then lived at the Denmark Zoo for six years before arriving in Minnesota.

According to a news release from zoo officials, the tiger was undergoing a preventative health exam, which included sample collection at the time of cardiac failure. They say specimen collection is important due to the globally-threatened nature of the Amur tiger. There are approximately 103 Amur tigers in North American AZA-accredited zoos and there are believed to be fewer than 500 animals surviving in the wild.

Despite the emergency efforts of veterinarians, animal health technicians and zookeepers, the tiger did not survive, according to the zoo.

“This was a routine procedure that is a vital part of our care and conservation work for tigers,” Dr. Taylor Yaw — a veterinarian and the Minnesota Zoo’s chief of animal care, health and conservation — said in a statement. “We plan weeks ahead for these types of exams. All necessary precautions were taken, and the team did everything within their power to save this animal.”

Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley went on to say, in a statement, “Today is an incredibly hard day for all of us at the Minnesota Zoo and we will be mourning for quite some time. Our zoo has played a key role in global tiger conservation throughout our history and we currently are co-leaders of the Tiger Conservation Campaign, which has raised millions of dollars for tiger conservation. While this loss is great, we can be proud of our efforts – past, present, and future – to advance tiger conservation worldwide.”

The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is an AZA-accredited zoo. It opened on May 22, 1978.